kids and the morality of stealing…..

When is it moral to steal?
This morning I was, as usual, listening to NPR in the car. I listen since I have a morbid fascination with the progress of moral fascism that NPR cheerfully chronicles. My children would much rather that I listen to music with which they will gleefully dance, bop and play air guitar. Their current favorites are Deep Purple “Machine Head”, a Best of the Gourds and Jenny Lewis. I suspect that Jenny Lewis is on Ian’s list since she is just flat out hot. He gets mesmerized at the vision of her tits on Youtube.
Well, I got out of the car to gas up and the kids were left with the aural narcolepsy of NPR. When I hopped back in they were bouncing with excitement.
“Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!” they bellowed. “We heard it on the radio. Somebody stole a FIRETRUCK!!!!”
They were ecstatic. No moral conundrum for them. This was true brilliance as far as they could see.
“That’s AMAZING” opined my daughter.
My son was reduced to overpowering stutters in his effort to express his approval. The whole way home they debated what would be the coolest conveyance to steal finally deciding on a space ship.
The point of this little fable is that it points out one of the great moral traps of thievery. For them stealing a Firetruck was just flat out cool. No way around it. It is tough to argue with them. Yes, I could talk about unrescued kittens and children dying gruesome deaths in fiery apartment blazes but it would not extinguish their enthusiasm nor ignite the fundamental indignation of the honest property owner in their souls. I will have to find a moment that is not so cool.
I am also reminded that when I was ten my ambition was to be a jewel thief since it involved lots of cool gear and climbing things that were strictly off limits.
As my son was drifting off to sleep tonight he asked
“Would he be my friend?”
“Would who be your friend?”
“The guy that stole the firetruck. That would be neat.”
Ah yes, Ian that would in many ways be neat…………….

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~ by Brad Morrison on January 1, 2010.

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